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Associate Professor of Sociology

Professor Brock’s research and teaching explore processes of social, moral and sexual regulation.  For many years her research focussed on the regulation of sexual labour in Canada, and provided a compelling argument for the decriminalization of prostitution and de-stigmatization of the sex trade.  Her sole-authored book, Making Work, Making Trouble: The Social Regulation of Sexual Labour was first published by the University of Toronto Press in 1998, with a second edition released in 2009.

‘Thoroughly updated to include events that have occurred in the decade since it was originally published, this second edition of Making Work, Making Trouble re-establishes this work as the pre-eminent study of prostitution in Canada. Detailing the various forces that have presented prostitution as a social problem, Deborah R. Brock examines anti-prostitution campaigns, urban development, new policing strategies, and the responses of the media, the courts, and governments, as well as feminist, rights, and residents' organizations.

Paying particular attention to rights and the means of economic survival within global and local realities, this edition includes new material on recent discourse on sex trafficking, migrant sex work, ex-worker rights organizing, and considers the potential impact of the Robert Pickton trial on the practice of sex work. A comprehensive overview of the crucial debates on prostitution, Making Work, Making Trouble is a welcome addition to twenty-first century sociology and criminology.’

University of Toronto Press Catalogue

'One of the book's strengths is that Brock considers not only the actions of the courts and law enforcement, but also economic shifts, the role of media reporting and the construction of Canada's often invisible social classes ... Making Work, Making Trouble is an important addition to the Canadian literature on sex work, providing a critical base with which to consider other works ... By crafting her argument in careful and direct prose, Brock illuminates the issues.'

Dan Allman, The Globe and Mail

'This book has everything you ever wanted to know about prostitution in Canada. Indeed, it might even answer questions you were too ill-informed to ask ... This is an encyclopedic book on Canada's futile attempts to design social policy which might otherwise humanely and effectively regulate the sex trades and protect its workers. It is also an excellent social history ... Deborah Brock begs us to reject age old stereotypes.'

Judith C. Blackwell, Canadian Journal of Sociology

Professor Brock’s current research engages with a materially grounded governmentality approach. She is editing the text, Re-Making Normal: Governing the Social in Neoliberal Times, in order to explore how we are constituted as neoliberal subjects; for example, as sexually, fiscally and organizationally responsible subjects, and as biopolitical subjects of citizenship, militarism, etc. In this text, neoliberalism is understood as more than an ideological perspective favoring the notion of the minimal state, competitive individualism, and ‘free’ trade and markets.  Neoliberalism has fundamentally reshaped how the self can be known and what interests the self holds through a reconfiguration of subjectification.  This text builds upon her earlier edited collection, Making Normal: Social Regulation in Canada, published in 2003 by Nelson Canada.

Professor Brock is committed to producing scholarly books that are accessible to students.  Beginning with frameworks from undergraduate courses that she has designed at York University, she has collaborated with colleagues in the editing of two additional collections.  Criminalization, Representation, Regulation: Thinking Differently About Crime (University of Toronto Press, 2014) was co-edited with Professors Carmela Murdocca and Amanda Glasbeek.  Power and Everyday Practices (Nelson, 2012) was co-edited with Professors Rebecca Raby and Mark Thomas.

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